Just as campers from Session 1 started making their way home on Saturday, new campers from around the world started journeys both long and short to the peninsula. It's quite the experience to say farewell to a group of boys and young men that you've come to know so well, and then welcome another 30+ campers the next day. But of course, after a GREAT night of rest (and sleeping in a little, maybe), we're ready to turn our full attention to Session 2 and some of the amazing things we have planned for our campers.
By the end of today (Sunday, July 10th), every camper will have chosen a bunk, moved and organized their gear to their liking, and will hopefully still have a decently made bed to sleep in. They’ll have learned almost everyone’s names after playing a name-game based off dodge ball, though they’ll likely be so caught up in the game they won’t realize it. They’ll feel refreshed by their first hot sauna and lake jump of the season, and last but not least, they’ll be feeling pretty full after a cookout at the Fire Circle.
It’s a lot to happen in the course of half a day or less, but hoping right into the program is a tradition we’re proud of here at camp. Believe it or not, our staff of 20-somethings have planned out many of the evening programs that will take place in the next few nights. Evening programs are camp-wide activities that take place after about 8:00pm and last right up to lights-out in the cabins. We make great use of our environment and the creativity of our staff to get teens and preteens to entertain one another without technology. If you don’t believe me, just wait ’till you see our photos.
That’s not to say they won’t be busy here, but if we’re doing our job right, they shouldn’t feel busy. As our program director Bill Burgman likes to say to the kids on the first day, “Here at camp, we’re anti-learning.” Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just about everything we do here at camp requires social engagement and active participation in a group, and in these conditions, learning is as natural as breathing. Beyond that, they’ll learn or improve upon what we call “observable skills,” ranging from things as basic as kicking a ball to activities as complex as sailing, shelter building, and archery (just to name a few). And I could probably write a book about the meaningful learning that takes place over the course of a wilderness adventure in the heart of the Boundary Waters, but for both of our sakes, I won’t get into that here!
So what is Bill really getting at with "anti-learning"? He's emphasizing humorously that while the underlying objective of our program is to foster the personal growth of our campers, they'll just feel like they're having fun with a rowdy, active group of peers led by a group of counselors who seem more like a friend than an adult carefully managing the group dynamic and safety of their campers. It's to really say, "This is not school! Take charge of your days here at camp and make the most of them!", which is also something Bill says, on a daily basis, and with plenty of humor.
I'll try to post and upload content as frequently as possible, but I'll be leading trips of my own this summer! The first round of trips will leave as early as the 14th, so there will be a period of about a week during which no new photos will appear. However, as soon as we're back, you'll get to see photos from their trips and eventually hear their stories told.